Want to Enjoy the Summer, Work Smarter, not Harder
“Work hard and you will succeed”. With that maxim in mind, many of us spend long hours in the office struggling to get ahead in our careers. But is working harder the only way to get the results we want? What if instead of working harder we start working smarter and were even able to achieve better results with less effort?
Working smarter means being clear about our goals and what we set out to achieve. It also requires that we spend more time planning and thinking ahead rather than just diving headfirst into every new project.
Here are a few tips that may help you learn to work smarter rather than harder.
#1 Distinguish the times when you are productive from the times when you are just busy
We are most productive when we spend time building our careers or businesses. For example, time spent meeting clients or calling new prospects often leads to results that we can see and appreciate. In contrast, busying ourselves with low-value activities such as answering e-mail or sitting in long unproductive meetings can often be counter-productive or even just a waste of time.
Though e-mail may give you a feeling of productivity, if you really think about it, how often does time spent writing and answering e-mail boost your bottom line?
Therefore, it is vital that you identify those activities that really do add to your productivity and devote the majority of your time to them.
#2 Think and make choices
Spending most of your time on activities that produce these tangible results forces you to reexamine the tasks you select as your top priorities. As difficult as it is, you need to realize that there is a limit to how much you can accomplish during the course of a day. Making the distinction between important tasks and those that can be put off until tomorrow is key to staying productive and maximizing your time.
#3 Learn to say “No”
The sad truth is that most people are afraid to say no to colleagues or clients for fear of appearing lazy, unreliable or even rude. However, because you want to maximize your productivity, it is often better to say no at the outset, rather than saying yes to everything and then finding yourselves unable to deliver quality work because of a lack of time or energy.
Learn to say no now and you’ll have more time later to devote to those activities that have the biggest impact on your career or business.
It is vital that you identify those activities that really do add to your productivity and devote the majority of your time and energy to them. Most people achieve 80% of their results from just 20% of their time. Knowing this and concentrating on those tasks that lead you to the greatest results is fundamental to making the most of your time and energy.
This summer are you working harder or smarter?